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As a mom of four rescue cats, I've learned that what's best for you is also best for your pet.  Never leave pets outdoors during a natural disaster and never leave your pet behind if you evacuate. Make a plan for your pet today.
1. Ask a trusted neighbor to check on your pets if something happens while you're not home.  Identify nearby shelters (remember, not all shelters accept pets), local boarding facilities and animal hospitals.  Check out a list of pet-friendly hotels at

2. Get your pet microchipped and keep your address and phone number up-to-date (also include an out-of-town contact's information).  If you are ever separated, this is the easiest way to reunite your pet with you.
3. Take a pet first aid and CPR class. Every second counts. I recommend If you are concerned that your pet may have eaten something poisonous, or overdosed on medication, you may call the 24/7 Pet Poison Helpline at (855) 764-7661 for expert toxicology advice and medical information. I've used this service, and their advice put me at ease and saved me a trip to the vet ER.

Cat Mom Cheryl Nelson
Cheryl Nelson and her cat

4. Be sure to protect pets and livestock from extreme cold, heat and other dangers.

  • Curious pets could attempt to wander onto a frozen lake on thin ice, or seek warmth under a car hood.

  • If animals cannot be brought indoors, ensure outdoor pets and livestock have access to plenty of dry bedding, windbreaks, shaded areas and fresh water/food.

  • Make sure you keep antifreeze away from your pets and clean up any spills or leaks immediately.  Pets are attracted to the sweetness of antifreeze, but antifreeze is very dangerous for pets.

  • Keep extra towels handy.  You may need these to wipe off your pets paws if they spend time outside.  Protect their paws from rock salt and ice by applying paw balm (always check with your veterinarian first) before going outside and wiping their paws clean with a warm wet rag after coming back inside.

  • Protect your pets from fleas, ticks and heartworms with preventative treatments (talk with your veterinarian).

  • Keep any poisonous plants out of your pet’s reach. Some plants, such as Tiger, Day, Asiatic, Easter and Japanese Show Lilies are highly toxic – especially to cats.

  • Block off potentially dangerous heat sources to prevent your pets from getting burnt.  Pets are curious and make want to get a closer look at the wood-burning stove, radiator or fireplace. 

  • If your pet is sick or seems to be in pain, please contact your veterinarian ASAP.

  • Learn more about your pets' DNA.

5. Build a disaster kit for your pet(s).

  • At least a 3-day supply of food and water for each of your pets.

  • At least a 2-week supply of your pets' medications.

  • Pet medical and vaccination records on a flash drive and in a safe.

  • First aid kit.

  • Collar with ID tag, leash, harness, pet carrier/crate.

  • Pet litter, litter box, trash bags, hand sanitizer, paper towels.

  • Photo of you and your pet(s) together to prove ownership.

  • Toys, bedding, treats to ease pet anxiety.

Make sure your pets are included in your natural disaster preparedness plan.  Click here to learn more.

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